Faculty & Staff

Michelle Burnie

Michele Burnie, Art Therapy Instructor, earned her Bachelors in Art and her Masters in Art Therapy. In her work at clinical and studio settings she applied her belief in the healing, life enhancing qualities of art to assist clients in coping with life's stressors, transitions, and realities, as well as celebrating their many accomplishments.

Since joining the faculty at Alverno College, Michele works toward helping students identify their own beliefs, strengths and stressors as they build their artist/art therapist/art educator identity. She encourages them to use art for expression, communication, nourishment and self-awareness.

Michele is active in her own creative process and encourages her students to stay engaged in their own art making. By knowing their creative process and having a depth of experience with a variety of materials, students have the best possible base of knowledge for succeeding in their area of study.

Michele's continued alliance with the state and national Art Therapy Associations assists in educating the general public on the uses of art to explore, expand and transform lives.

Linda Johnson-Dynek Office: AL137   414 382-3745

Linda received her Bachelor of Arts in Art Education/Art Therapy with a minor in Psychology, and Master of Arts in Education degrees from Alverno College. She is an ABD doctoral candidate in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University, with a research focus on assessment.

After teaching art and adaptive art in the preK-12 public school setting for 15 years, Linda is back at Alverno, teaching Art Education and Adaptive Arts Media and Methods field courses for the introductory, elementary, and secondary levels, Student Teaching Seminars for Art Education and Adaptive Education, Art Foundations Studio Art 1 for non-art majors, Liberal Learning for Transfer Students, and additional art courses. She is the Advisor for the A100 Mid Semester Assessment.  She is also one of the Program Leaders for the Leaders Advancing Character & Culture in Schools (LACCS) Program.


Dara Larson

Dara Larson lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She teaches courses in Fibers, Printmaking, Drawing, Papermaking in Global Cultures, Installation Art, Artist's Books, Contemporary Topics in Art as well as International Studies travel courses to Mexico and Spain.

Ms. Larson received her Bachelor of Science in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed Post Baccalaureate study in Art History at the University of Salamanca-Spain.

She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Larson works in a variety of media including printmaking, painting, drawing, papermaking, artist's books and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited and resides in collections in the United States, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, Russia and China.

Professor Larson was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to explore Latin Studies Initiatives for Alverno College. As a component of the grant she completed study in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil and is developing course materials based upon this travel. She has also given presentations on international study at the International Partnerships in Service Learning Conference in Quito, Ecuador, and the Association of Academic Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean Conference in Cuerna Vaca, Mexico.

In addition to her teaching, Larson maintains a studio practice. Many of the subjects in Larson's work focus upon travel, visual icons and cultural patterns that change meaning when combined with icons of other cultures.

She has traveled and studied in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Central America and South America. During her studies, Ms. Larson collects photographs, printed matter and impressions about the cultural specificity of local events and images. She expands this study with her own point of view in a magic realist approach to storytelling.

To view the artwork of Dara Larson, please visit this web site:


Lynda Sommers



Pat Walsh  Office: AL139    414 382-6392

Pat is Program Director for the Interactive Media Design (IMD) major. She teaches the introductory course in IMD where she takes students on field trips to visit media designers, giving beginning students a glimpse of what it would be like to practice media design in different creative environments.  Pat also teaches advanced courses in content development and new media, exploring with students the rapidly expanding opportunities to apply their emerging skills and talents in communication design.

She has a Master’s degree in Communication from UW-Milwaukee and a Bachelor’s degree from Carroll University with a triple major in Speech Communication, English and Sociology. Pat has been teaching at Alverno for 26 years and also has a professional practice as a writing coach for academic and industry researchers. 


Kate Weishaar

Kate Weishaar was born in Albemarle County, Virginia and grew up in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa before arriving in Wisconsin.

Following completion of her BAE in Oshkosh, Wisconsin she taught grades K-12 art and coached volleyball and track in Washburn County, Wisconsin.

After becoming a tenured faculty in Washburn County her passion for art and rural culture led to Ogemaw County, Michigan, where she taught high school art full time and coached varsity volleyball, as well as teaching in Community Education programs and beginning a therapeutic art program in local long-term care facilities. While in Michigan she earned a Masters Degree in Counseling and her Ph. D. in Counseling Psychology and Aging.

Upon returning to Wisconsin she has gained additional work experience in private practice, inpatient psychiatric, and skilled care facilities. A licensed art therapist and psychotherapist she offers over eighteen years of private practice experience in addition to her many years of program development and teaching.

For a glimpse of her work, see (2002) F.M.Burton and A.M. Stampp (Ed.s), Celebrating Door County’s Wild Places: Paintings of the Peninsula, p. 112, or “The visual life review as a therapeutic art framework with the terminally ill, “The International Journal of the Arts in Psychotherapy, 26(3), 173-184.